Follow these tips to boost your freelancing career. Soon enough you'll be enjoying the freedom of being your own boss and working from anywhere.
Looking to land freelance jobs online? Hooked on the prospect of setting your daily schedule and having the flexibility to work from wherever you want? Dreaming of being your own boss and choosing your own clients? You’re not alone, freelancing is on the rise in 2016 so get ready to ditch your cubicle and get started. Freelancing can be hard work, but with focus, hustle, and a few insider tips – you can make it, and we’re here to help.
Update your online profiles quarterly
If a client is interested in working with you, they might look you up online as part of their selection process. This is your chance to showcase your best while they are browsing search results for your name. Remember, it’s all about trust! Potential clients haven’t had the chance to meet you before, these profiles let them know they are in safe hands working with you.
Make the most of your online profiles with these tips:
- Showcase your best work on your personal site, GitHub profile, Behance profile, and any other relevant locations for your area of expertise.
- If you’re just getting started and don’t have previous work under your belt, give yourself practice projects to create examples to show off your skills (logos, mockups, apps, code, diagrams, etc.)
Don’t just post a link to your work, explain it
Your previous work is the best way to show how you have helped other clients achieve their goals, something all clients look for when evaluating freelancers. This is more than just an opportunity to showcase your skills, but how you collaborate with your clients. Was the client stumped before they found you? Were you able to help them get over a roadblock and achieve their goals? These stories are valuable to potential clients because it shows your dedication and communication skills.
Some helpful things to include:
- What was the timeline? If it was a rush job, show your ability to work with tight deadlines.
- What were the goals? Point out specific approaches and solutions you provided to help the goals be met.
- Were there specific challenges? How you deal with these are a testament to problem solving and client concerns.
Keep your social profiles polished
Your social media presence is an extension of your professional online profile. If your client finds your social profiles in their research, it should shine a positive light on you. These profiles are an opportunity to show your personality, create a personal connection, and network to find future work.
Follow these tips to make sure your public social profiles help, not hurt, your freelancing career:
- Don’t use NSFW language.
- Don’t have publicly visible religious or political opinions. This is a quick way to be removed from competitive bidding environments.
- Post links to your previous work to show your skills.
Establish expertise within your industry
Contributing to communities that are specific to your skills is a great way to highlight your abilities and show that you are active in your profession. By being proactive in sharing your knowledge and helping others, you are providing clients with a real-world example of what working with you is like.
Get the most out of your contributions with these tips:
- Author content that demonstrates your specific abilities.
- Keep your content engaging and straightforward, this is a great chance to demonstrate your communication skills.
- Practice creating different types of content to show a variety of communication styles; blog posts, how-to’s, product reviews, videos, and more.
Personalize your proposals
Submitting proposals can be time consuming, but it’s one of the most important parts of successful freelancing. This is your chance to set yourself apart from the rest. To save yourself time you can create basic templates to use across proposals and then fill in specific information as it relates to each project. Always remember, your proposal is like an interview, what would you say to be sure you are the top candidate?
The basic building blocks of a great proposal include:
- A personal introduction of yourself and relevant work.
- An outline of the finished deliverables you will be working on.
- Your estimated timeline for the required work.
- Responses to any questions the client had in their project description.
- Last, but certainly not least, be sure to proofread! This shows your attention to detail and communication abilities which are key to maintaining a positive working relationship with your clients.
Be positive and clear in all communications
Nobody wants to work with an abrasive freelancer. Keeping all of your communications positive, even with the most difficult clients, is an excellent way to set yourself apart from the crowd and gain repeat clients. One of your ultimate goals is to receive positive feedback at the end of projects, after all, your reputation as a freelancer depends on it.
Here are some best practices for keeping your client happy:
- Start your messages on a high note. A simple “thanks for the quick response” can set a good tone right off the bat.
- Avoid speaking in confusing technical jargon. Remember, your client hired you because they aren’t an expert in the field – you are! It’s part of your responsibility to guide them through the project and make sure they feel they are in safe hands with you.
- Be sure to address their questions with straightforward answers to show you value their time.
- Reply to client communications promptly, if you fall silent for a few days they might grow nervous and frustrated.
Be sure to get feedback from your clients
Client feedback is an invaluable component of your online freelancing reputation. After a project is complete, be sure to be proactive in asking for a positive 5 star review. Some clients might not leave feedback immediately, but a gentle nudge might be all they need. Positive feedback from your clients is something that comes with hard work, good communication, and a personal touch.
By following these quick tips, you’re well on your way to growing your freelancing business!